Contracts are important to both the client and the supplier and having effective Terms & Conditions in place is all part of running a business and providing goods or a service.

However, I provide a service and it seems some businesses are happy to just instruct and then if all goes well; pay for the service. This all goes terribly wrong when there is a problem and the client is not all that impressed with the service provided and does not pay on completion. Now, that’s a whole new blog post on getting people to pay and the impact on cash flow.

There is the other side of the coin where a client is asked to pay in advance; specifically for a new client (to ensure funds are available) or if a big job is asked for and a deposit is asked for or when the client is to be a retainer and a number of hours (or tasks) are to be purchased on a regular basis.

As I have said before a Contract is an important part of the agreement to work together. If it is goods the Contract is part of the bit that they sign when they order or maybe receive goods. However, when it is a service it’s a little more of a problem because it is an entity in itself.

Sending a Contract for signature can be done in a number of way; good old Mr Postie (bit too slow really); by email so they have to print, sign and fax back (or scan and email back) but there is a far better and quicker solution; electronically using a cloud platform. There are a number of them about but my one of choice is Echosign (www.echosign.com).

The beauty of this is you create your contract, upload and insert the ‘fields’ for the signature and date (there are other options but I tend to keep it simple). I then ask the client to sign first (in case they have an issue), I then sign and we both receive a pdf document with both our signatures on (you can even get Twitter to tweet how long it took to sign!).

The signing is done electronically (you can select the type of font used if you really are particular) and can be done on a tablet, telephone or computer. All stages are emailed so you know when it has been sent, when they sign and you receive the document to sign and hey presto it is complete and emailed to both parties (to either keep in your account or download).

For me it is simple, can be quick and a couple of my clients have also started using the same method – which as a VA means I can help them with that process too. Oh, and it’s free for so many each month.

Check it out and let me know what you think or if you have a preference for a different provider.

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